Link: USA South Release
The USA South Athletic Conference's men's basketball coaches have released their 2021-22 preseason polls. There are two new additions to the sport of men's basketball within the conference as Mary Baldwin will field a team for the first time while Southern Virginia enters its first year of membership in the conference.
LaGrange was fifth in the West Division coaches poll. Defending division champion Maryville was voted as the favorite for this season, receiving six of the seven first place votes. The Scots were followed by Piedmont, Covenant, Huntingdon, and LC. Berea and Brevard rounded out the poll.
The Panthers were 7-4 overall and 7-3 in conference play during the pandemic shortened 2020-21 season. Coach Kendal Wallace, beginning his 11th season, welcomes back team leaders senior guard Bershard Edwards and senior forward Kyle Brown. The Panthers will have 10 newcomers, including seven freshmen.
Edwards averaged 10.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. He was second on team with 23 3-pointers. Edwards led the team and the USA South conference in 3-point field goal percentage (51.7). Brown is the team's leading returning scorer after averaging 13.0 points per game in 2020-21. He was second on the team in rebounding, averaging 5.4 rebounds per game and led the team with 18 blocks.
Junior forward Zac Hill played in every game last season in a reserve role. Hill averaged 3.3 points and 1.2 rebounds per game, shooting .682 (15-of-22) from the floor. Sophomore guards Gabe Cofield and Camerin Lyons, along with senior forward Mena Yacoub will provide depth to the lineup.
The Panthers open the 2021-22 season Nov. 8 when they host Pensacola Christian in Mariotti Gym. Tipoff is 7 p.m. LC will host the Wingate by Wyndham Classic on Nov. 12-13. The Panthers will face the Mississippi University for Women and Sewanee in the tournament.
The Panthers' non-conference schedule features three games against NCAA Division II teams. LC plays at Montevallo on Nov. 16, at West Alabama on Nov. 23, and at West Georgia on Dec. 17. LC will play at Division I Jacksonville State on Monday, Dec. 13 in an exhibition game. The Panthers play at Emory, preseason ranked No. 13 by D3hoops.com, on Dec. 1 and host USA South East Division favorite N.C. Wesleyan on Dec. 15. The Panthers open their 12-game conference schedule Jan. 8 at Piedmont.